Wildlife & Habitat

Bottomland Hardwood 512x219

The Refuge was established in 1992 for the protection and restoration of bottomland hardwood forests.  Approximately 5,000 acres of the 7,500 acre refuge are available for wildlife oriented recreation including hunting, fishing, and birding.   A wildlife sanctuary encompasses the remaining 2,500 acres of the refuge and is not available for public use. 

  • Habitat

    Prairie Habitat 150x118

    Refuge habitat consists primarily of bottomland hardwood forests around the Marais des Cygnes River. This habitat is somewhat unique to Kansas. Uplands surrounding the hardwood forests are primarily prairie grasslands. Some of which are native tallgrass prairies; an ecosystem in decline. To learn more about the Refuge habitat click the link below. 

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  • Wildlife

  • Birds

    Green Heron with water reflection

    Many bird species occur in the area including shorebirds, waterfowl and neotropical migrants. More than 300 species of birds use the area at various times of the year and there are about 113 species reported to nest in the area. For more information on birding click the link below.  

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  • Fish

    Yellow Perch Art

    The Marais des Cygnes River and tributaries provide habitat for species of fish that include minnows, catfish, and sunfish.  These species make up the biggest part of the fish population found in the river. Fish populations such as; large channel catfish, bass, bluegill, carp and buffalo fish provide a sport fishery.  

  • Freshwater Mussels

    Mussel pile in river

    Over 31 species of freshwater mussel species are present in the Refuge portion of the Marais des Cygnes River. Mussels serve a valuable role fore water quality by filtering they are a good indicator of the general health of the river.  

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  • Mammals

    Coyote pups by den

    Mammals occurring within the area are diverse and include furbearers as well as game species. Due to the varied food supply, all species are well represented. 

  • Reptiles and Amphibians

    Broadhead Skink 150x118

    The Refuge provides habitat for a diversity of reptiles and amphibians. A total if 58 herpetological species (16 amphibians and 42 reptiles) have been recorded from either Linn or Miami counties.  Even though detailed site inventories have not been completed, all of these species probably inhabit the Refuge or land adjacent to it.